Fly for Hearing Foundation
The Fly for Hearing Foundation aims to address this challenge by equipping a Boeing 737 with a flying hospital that will operate cochlea implants on deaf children in poor countries worldwide.
Hearing is a fundamental sense that plays a crucial role in a child’s development. It shapes their social, cognitive, and emotional development. However, when a child is born deaf, their ability to communicate and develop is hindered.
Children born deaf in poor countries face a variety of challenges, including a lack of resources and medical facilities.
Fly for Hearing will address the urgency for global attention to deaf children to ensure their future development and lists countries that the Fly for Hearing Foundation should be targeting to enhance the lives of the deaf children they serve.
Importance of Cochlea Implants in Developing Countries
Cochlear implants are surgically implanted electronic hearing devices that improve the hearing ability of deaf children. They work by bypassing the damaged parts of the ear and transmitting sound waves directly to the brain’s auditory nerve.
Cochlear implants are a great intervention for deaf children as it helps them to communicate with the hearing world, socialize better, and achieve various developmental milestones.
Developed countries have specialists and facilities that are equipped to provide cochlea implants. However, Cochlea implants are still expensive, meaning not every child has access to them.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Cochlea implants are not available in most low-income countries. As a result, deaf children from these impoverished countries are disadvantaged and do not have access to medical procedures that can enhance their future.
The lack of access to Cochlea implants, resulting in social and emotional issues, limited communication, abuse, and mental illness, are some of the devastating effects that could follow them throughout their lives.
Fly For Hearing: Providing Solution to the Cochlea Implant Gap
Fly For Hearing is a charitable foundation that aims to mitigate the challenges associated with Cochlea implants’ availability in poor countries.
The foundation will equip a Boeing 737 airplane with surgical facilities, and a team of medical professionals will fly to developing countries to perform cochlea implant surgery on deaf children.
The foundation’s goal is to take Cochlea implants to children in remote and disadvantaged areas globally. By equipping the Boeing 737 with surgical facilities, the cost and logistics required for surgeries in low-income countries will be significantly reduced.
Moreover, by operating from within the countries themselves, the foundation will lower transportation costs for patients who would otherwise have to travel significant distances to access surgical facilities.
Target Countries for Fly For Hearing
The problem of access to medical procedures like Cochlea implants is particularly common among poor, remote regions worldwide. As such, the Fly For Hearing Foundation should focus on these regions to bring solutions to those in need.
The Foundation should focus on countries and regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where the need for Cochlea implants is high.
A report by the International Journal of Audiology reveals that 63% of deaf children globally are located in developing countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 90% of children with hearing loss will never enroll in school, and 84% will never receive any form of education. In addition, the lack of specialist care for the deaf could also mean that many more deaf children are going undiagnosed.
Some of the countries that need attention, as identified by WHO, include India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, among others. According to the WHO, six out of ten people with hearing loss live in low- to middle-income countries. As such, Fly For Hearing may expand its services to these regions.
Other Causes of Hearing Loss in Developing Countries
Fly For Hearing aims to close the Cochlea implant gap, particularly for children born deaf. However, there are instances where children may go deaf after birth due to various factors. For example, infections like meningitis, measles or mumps, and HIV/AIDS, among others, may cause hearing loss.
Meningitis, for example, is one of the leading causes of hearing loss in developing countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the incidence of meningitis is higher than in other regions globally. The disease can cause permanent hearing loss in up to 30% of those infected. Children who contract meningitis sometimes get deaf because of the inflammation of the brain’s inner structure, the cochlea.
Additionally, in low-income countries, people generally have limited access to healthcare, meaning that ear infections that could be easily treated become chronic, leading to permanent hearing loss.
The high incidence of infectious diseases, malnutrition, and poor sanitation also increases the risk of getting ear infections and hearing loss. Fly For Hearing can help address some of these issues by educating the communities on preventative measures, alongside providing children free treatment for ear infections and other hearing-related infections.
Fly for Hearing will be lounged by SwedAero Maintance AB, further on run as an independent charitable foundation, where SwedAero Maintance AB is committed to supporting the foundation. The aim is to give children born deaf a meaningful life with the same advantages as hearing children.